Famine Prevention in Africa
Some Experiences and Lessons
This chapter focuses on the success stories of famine prevention in a number of African countries, such as Kenya, Zimbabwe, Cape Verde, and Botswana, that had received little attention from the international community. Public policy, by providing direct public support to the population in times of crisis, was key to this famine prevention success; neither higher economic growth, nor accelerated growth of agriculture, nor the rapid expansion of food production were by themselves adequate safeguards against famine. These African experiences offer ample lessons, including the importance of entitlement protection systems, initiative, and conduct of emergency operations by local or national institutions; the dependence of early response on political considerations, efficacy of cash support, interconnections between private trade and public distribution, and diversification of economic activities.